Love of the Salish Sea Islands

New Essays, Memoirs and Poems
by 40 Island writers
Introduction by Gail Sjuberg
Paintings by Nicola Wheston
June 2019

“Love of the Salish Sea Islands is a sparkling archipelago of writers who draw us into the lives, land, and waters of their island worlds. A wonderful read –or, rather, many wonderful reads.”–Ronald Wright, author of A Short History of Progress

“We who live on the islands of the Salish Sea know how extraordinary it is to be part of this magical place. Each writer in this volume reflects the islands themselves. Poets, novelists, story-tellers. Different, evocative, mysterious and loved. This is a wonderful volume.”–Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

This important anthology of previously unpublished memoirs, essays and poems gathers forty skilled and award-winning island writers in one place for the first time. The many islands of the Salish Sea in British Columbia, and the waters that surround them–are brought to light in a kaleidoscope of short, brilliant compositions and verse­–passionate, eclectic and reflective.

Islands are special places of unique and lively communities, within a rare and beautiful ecosystem; with diverse indigenous, settler and outsider histories, circled by an endangered sea that protects and separates inhabitants from a more crowded, invasive civilization. They are little refugias in the glacial landscape of urbanization—ecological and cultural. The writing inhabits genius loci, and invites you to take refuge and become inspired enough to re-enchant your home terrain.

Contributors are: Taiaiake Alfred, Chris Arnett, Brenda Brooks, Maria Coffey, Daniel Cowper, William Deverell, Ann Eriksson, Mona Fertig, Cathy Ford, Gary Geddes, Katherine Palmer Gordon, Peter Haase, Amanda Hale, Diana Hayes, Jack Hodgins, Cornelia Hoogland, Stephen Hume, Christina Johnson-Dean, Des Kennedy, Michael Kenyon, Zoë Landale, Peter Levitt, Derek Lundy, Matsuki Masutani, Karen McLaughlin, Maureen Moore, Arleen Paré, Briony Penn, Michael Redican, Murray Reiss, Linda Rogers, Christine Smart, Steven Ross Smith, George Szanto, Nancy J. Turner, M.C. Warrior, Alison Watt, Bob Weeden, Rex Weyler, Sue Wheeler.

Islands rendered include: Bowen, Cortez, Denman, Gabriola, Galiano, Gambier, Hornby, Lasqueti, Lummi, Mayne, Mitlenatch, Newcastle, Penelakut, Pender, Prevost, Protection, Quadra, Retreat, Salt Spring, Saturna, Savary, Senanus, Texada, Thetis, Thormanby and Tumbo.

This anthology is a must-read for anyone who travels to and lives on an island, or yearns to live on an island. In this era when the natural world is constantly threatened by environmental destruction, through climate change, ignorance and corporate greed, it is more important than ever to affirm the significance, culture and beauty of our ocean archipelagos, and to be proactive in protecting and preserving them for the future of all.

“The 500-plus islands in the Salish Sea are widely recognized as a region of international ecological and cultural significance: the Georgia Basin is considered one of the three most threatened ecoregions in Canada.”
—from Islands in the Salish Sea: A Community Atlas, edited by Sheila Harrington and Judi Stevenson.

Mother Tongue Publishing


On this tiny Salish Sea island, for my son, my friend and me, being Indigenous means walking the land hunting.

Temosen is the name held by a respected elder in the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation, a master carver, Xumtholt’s uncle and my good friend. Names are sacred for Indigenous People, and it is not my right to share the meaning of the man’s name or talk about it. But, it is most definitely ancient, certainly dignified and obviously connected through a thick storyline to the island. Xumtholt and I, in that moment, renamed the tiny island Temosen Island, a befitting name. With Xumtholt’s sharing of his nation’s heritage, the island has, gratefully for me, become a place where I can feel connected with the ancestral spirits that are grounded in the land and pulsing through the waters of this territory

Taiaiake Alfred, raised in the Kahnawá:ke Mohawk Territory, is a former university professor, an award-winning journalist and author, and a community activist. He lives in the territory of the WSÁNEĆ Nation and is the father of three sons, all members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

Taiaiake Alfred
TheTyee, 2020.05.20